Emotions play a significant role in customer experience, as many statistics clearly show. According to research by the Peppers & Rogers Group, 60% of customers stop engaging with a company when salespeople treat them indifferently, while 70% of customers leave a brand due to poor service. Customer retention therefore demands that companies understand the importance of making customers feel valued, whether it be by respecting their time, saving them money, or simply thanking them for their business. While retention involves rectifying negative customer experiences, it’s equally important to keep customers happy in a proactive manner. Here are five tips for improving customer retention that every brand should note.
One step every brand should take is making sure that service is truly consistent and optimized across all channels. Customers should have no trouble finding information or seeking service regardless of the channel they use. While details may vary from one channel to another—for example, a Facebook page may post an average response time while the voice channel may offer callbacks—the overall quality of the customer experience should be rich and consistent at all times. A proactive brand attitude is key to making customers happy from the start.
It is essential to ask customers for their input immediately following a service interaction. They are more likely to remember the details they want to comment on, giving brands a great opportunity to learn how service may be improved. Customers should be offered short but meaningful surveys that focus on specific areas of improvement, and they should also be invited to offer additional comments as they wish. Showing customers that their opinions matter is crucial to winning their loyalty.
When frustrated customers need support, agents need to adapt to such situations. In addition to listening closely and showing empathy toward customers, agents should be willing to add their own spontaneity to conversations rather than sticking to call scripts at all times. For example, it may be necessary to speak longer than usual and increase the average handling time, ask a peer for further support, or even switch channels for further discussion. In such situations, it’s important to remember that the customer wants to solve a problem and expects the brand to take any measures necessary. The goal should be to provide a complete and quality experience that satisfies the customer, rather than aiming for a quick resolution.
Taking a proactive approach to understanding global customer needs can help brands offer solutions to problems before they arise. Call recordings, social media exchanges, and other customer interactions on all other channels provide key insights about customer feelings. Do customers feel there should be longer support hours? Do they have to repeat information? Customer service teams should analyze customer comments and determine brand strengths and weaknesses. While feedback surveys may be used to ask customers directly what they expect from a brand, channel monitoring can give a broader picture of customer sentiments and lead to stronger improvements. This also means reaching out proactively to unhappy customers on social media channels and answering direct questions swiftly.
Customers love brands that reward them. In addition to sales events, brands may offer rewards to new customers and for special occasions such as holidays or customer birthdays. In addition, referral programs allow customers and their friends to earn rewards, making them more loyal to such brands. The more customers feel their business is valued, the more likely they will remain loyal. Understanding customer feelings and making sincere gestures to give them what they want are essential to improve customer retention and gaining brand advocates in the process.
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